Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Monday, August 20, 2012

No J.R. in this Dallas episode

Chances are, if you are waiting for a table at the Da Nang restaurant in downtown Clawson, you won’t have to wait long.
Believe me, that is no reflection on the food, which is reputed to among the finest Vietnamese fare around.
It has much more to do with a young man named Dallas Shields, who buses tables at Da Nang.
Rated on pure speed alone, there is no way plates, glasses, silverware and crumpled napkins linger on a table for long. The cartoonish Road Runner would come off like a loiterer by comparison.
“The food is amazing,” said Shields, who will begin his senior at Hazel Park High School soon. “The cooks make me something different all of the time, and it always tastes great.”
Great could be the descriptive word of choice for his running career in high school so far.
As a junior, he was all state in both cross country and track. He finished fifth in the state in the 3200 meter run (9:37.84) and was third in the event at the Oakland County Meet (9:32).
In cross country, he finished ninth at the state meet at the Michigan International Speedway last November, finishing in 16:03.3.
His goal this cross country season is to break the school record set by Gus Forget, a foreign exchange student from Belgium who  won the Class A state meet in 1996 with a 15:40 showing.
“I want to stay healthy and try to break the school record,” said Shields, who is already a member of his school’s Hall of Fame.
So far, his best time in cross country is 15:57, a time he ran at the 2011 regionals at Metro Beach.
“Actually, I want to get under 15:28; I think that is possible,” he continued.
While Shields will most likely be running alone much of the season due to his talent, at least there will be more of a familiar crowd at both the start and finish of races.
The Vikings have 22 runners this year, said Shields, and 16 of them are boys. Included in the mix are his brothers; Dylan, a junior, and Jeremy, an incoming ninth grader.
The Shields brothers won’t have squatter’s rights on family ties. Sophomores Alex and Max Hamlet are twins; and the Bucher brothers are Kyle and Patrick. Kyle is a senior and Patrick is a sophomore.
“We have a lot of runners and it will be fun to see them improve. Some seem to be pretty dedicated,” said Shields.
His own dedication could land a spot on a college team. He spent part of the summer at a camp at Grand Valley State University that was populated by some of the state’s top high school runners.
“I’ve never had anyone who worked as hard as Dallas,” said Bill Boldt, the veteran coach at Hazel Park High. “There have been times where I have had to tell him to ease up a little bit. During the track season, he was getting up on his own at 5 a.m. and running six to eight miles, and then he would practice with the team in the afternoon.”
When the cross country team practices, depending upon what the training schedule dictates, Shields will go on a long eight to 10-mile trek with the other runners. Then, on his own, he’ll do speed work or hills.
Shields plans to take this weekend off from running. At least from official workouts. He will still be clearing tables at Da Nang at breakneck speeds. Say hello if you get the chance. He’ll be the blur going by saying “Beep! Beep!”


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